October 19, 2012
Dr. Ron Valdiserri, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, and Director, Office of HIV/AIDS Policy, US Department of Health and Human Services, offers an excellent new resource published as a special supplement to the journal Public Health Reports. Called "Innovations in Oral Health Care for People Living with HIV/AIDS," it presents findings from the Innovations in Oral Health Care Initiative, which involved 15, five-year demonstration projects supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration's HIV/AIDS Bureau, in addition to resources from the Ryan White Care Act's Special Projects of National Significance.
The findings showed that innovative program models can engage and retain people who are living with HIV/AIDS into oral healthcare services in both urban and non-urban settings. Valdiserri emphasizes oral health is crucial for a person's general health and well-being throughout a lifespan, and it is especially critical for PLWHA. Inadequate oral health care can undermine the success of health outcomes, nutritional intake, and HIV treatment regimens. He notes that oral infections may also spread to other parts of the body, a particularly dangerous occurrence for individuals with compromised immune systems. View this resource at www.publichealthreports.org/issuecontents.cfm?Volume=127&Issue=8.